In Defense Of Sister Wives

Sorry, I just don't see what's so offensive about polygamy. In fact, I could really use a sister wife or two.
Publish date:
May 1, 2011
TV, TLC, polygamy, sister wives

My boyfriend hates it when I say this -- though you’d think he wouldn’t -- but I don’t see what all the fuss is about polygamy.

I’m not talking about the cult-y kind, the raided compounds where sick megalomaniacs marry 8-year-olds in acts of church-sanctioned pedophilia. Not only are those folks committing epic crimes of the federal variety; they’re also committing major crimes of fashion. No, that sort of polygamy just isn’t for me.

I’m talking about TLC’s “Sister Wives,” which I’m finally catching up on as my DVR threatens to self-combust if I don’t relieve it of its contents. (I’ve been really, really busy of late.) And I’m hooked. I find the Brown family -- Kody and his wives Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn and their 16 kids -- kind of charming. I want to hang out with them, maybe attend a barbecue in their backyard (and do my boozing from a flask in the bathroom). And I’ve been nearly banished from my friend circle for saying this, but I’m just going to put it out there: I think Kody’s kind of cute.

Due to the aforementioned busy-ness, a lot of things in my life have gone neglected. The apartment I share with my equally busy boyfriend gets pretty messy, errands go undone, bills just barely get paid on time, and we debate how long dishes can go stacked in the sink before someone (like him?) needs to empty the dishwasher. When we enter hazardous territory, we call in a wonderful housekeeper, but she doesn’t do things like laundry, pay bills, cook balanced meals, or wait on hold with Time Warner. What we need is a housewife. Maybe -- and I think you know where I’m heading with this -- what we really need is a sister wife.

In the mind of this TV viewer, the Mrs. Browns have it pretty good. They have built-in childcare (free-spirited Christine loves staying home with the kids and looks pretty good at it), bread-winners (Janelle can’t imagine giving up her career, Kody works in sales, and sadly Meri was fired for the polygamy revelations) and the kids have tons of playmates (over-population arguments notwithstanding). When the women want to do that thing women love to do (bitch about a man), they have at least two willing compatriots nearby. And they each get the bed to themselves a few nights a week. Now tell me: what’s so awful about that?

Of course, there’s a little jealousy at times. When Kody courted the pretty young Robyn, the three other women suffered pangs of envy. But it could be argued that a little jealousy keeps things interesting. Lying and sneaking around is the worst offense, and that’s exactly what Kody isn’t doing. I even feel sorry for Kody. A simple philanderer has mistresses he can mistreat. Kody instead has four women with whom he can’t part ‘til death, four sets of feelings to answer to, a small village of offspring to provide for. I wouldn’t say this is a cakewalk for Kody. If this were just about getting some variety in the bedroom, he could do it the old-fashioned way: brothels. Those are just a short drive from where he lives in Utah.

The arguments for consensual polygamy and gay marriage have some overlap -- each arrangement defends an individual’s right to love and marry whomever they please. Nobody’s getting hurt (though some of you married people out there might disagree) and everyone seems happy. Live and let live, I say, no matter what the lifestyle.

Of course, the only way this could work would be if polygamy worked both ways and women also had the right to take multiple husbands. And it’s safe to say the Mormons aren’t there yet. When a friend of my boyfriend’s was between apartments recently and crashed with us for a couple weeks, he did his fair share of dishwashing, bodega runs and Swiffering. It also meant my boyfriend finally got someone with whom he could watch sports and Rush documentaries. So I took baths in my newly cleaned tub, everyone was happy and fortunately our friend found an apartment before the Feds came knocking. (And I’m now a huge Rush fan.)

So I look forward to finishing Season 2, which will probably be in early 2012, after I’ve done my dishes. By the way: have you seen how immaculate all the Browns’ houses are? Exactly.